Mark Lawrence serves as the director of the Fish Innovation Lab. He provides leadership and direction for its programs, coordinates its activities, and serves as the primary liaison with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Before serving in this role, Lawrence served as the associate dean for research and graduate studies at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He was also a professor of aquatic animal health and has been a tenure-track faculty member at the college since 1998. He has led USDA-funded research on vaccine development for bacterial diseases impacting catfish aquaculture in the United States and conducted fish-health diagnostics for catfish producers for over 20 years.
Lawrence has collaborated with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in implementing aquatic animal health and biosecurity programs for international development since 2013. In particular, he has helped organize an FAO-led progressive management pathway for aquatic biosecurity program, and he has organized three joint MSU-FAO congressional briefings on aquaculture and aquatic animal health. He has also led training programs for veterinary students in research, including a National Institutes of Health-funded Summer Research Experience Program and DVM/PhD program.
Lawrence earned his DVM from Texas A&M University in 1990 and completed a PhD in aquatic animal health at Louisiana State University in 1997. He has over 100 peer-reviewed publications in aquatic health, veterinary microbiology, and food safety. He also serves as director of the MSU Global Center for Aquatic Food Security, which coordinates a collaborative program with the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (Gulfport, Mississippi) on health of dolphins and sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico.